Australia · blessings · clouds · Mount Warning · renovations · seasons · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

Sultry Saturday

Husband is home today, doing a few touch ups before my office is put back how it should be. The kitchen renovation continues next week as well, and there’s a couple of places that need a touch of paint, so he’s getting into that as well.

Semester 1 of university started back this week so today I listened to a lecture and got into some required reading. It’s a blessing that the first week is never overly hectic! It also helps that I can access most of what I need for uni on my iPad.

Today the weather is humid. There’s no rain about but the valley looks rather dull. I took this photo earlier today, when the mountain was mostly visible. Now, it is hidden behind low cloud.

With just one more day of offical summer left though, the humidity should decrease from now on. We’ll see. Regardless of how many humid days we have had this summer, I can’t complain. It’s been a relatively cool summer for a change. 😊

Australia · clouds · garden flowers · gardening · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · rain · seasons · summer · sunrise · Tweed Valley

Monday Morning Mist

This morning I awoke to the most beautiful sight in the valley.

After another warm day yesterday, we had an unexpected downpour of rain late last night, nothing major, but it seems the moisture combined with the heat was enough to give the valley an “other worldly” appearance this morning.

While I was outside admiring the valley mist in the early morning light, a female Pee Wee came by. I have four regular Pee Wee visitors these days – two males and two females.

Even though drizzly rain continued all morning, there was something special about the light today. I played around taking photos for a while from my front patio, and one of my favourites was of my white miniature rose. A couple of weeks ago, the plant looked a tad frazzled, but since the days have been cooler, it seems to have had a new surge in growth.

Like the miniature rose bush, the cooler and calmer summer’s days we’ve had recently have given my Tibouchina tree a new lease on life too.

This summer, I am basking in the glory of cooler-than-usual days and nights, which have allowed me to spend more time in the garden than usual this summer. If every summer could be this agreeable, I’d be a very happy all-year-round gardener. 🙂

Australia · blessings · Changes · clouds · colours · Mount Warning · rain · seasons · subtropical weather · summer · sunset · Tweed Valley

On a hot summer’s day.

It really felt like summer weather today.

I awoke to a bright sunny day and a clear mountain, so took my first photo at 7:12am. You never know how long the mountain will remain clear on a subtropical summer’s day.

By 11:18am the valley was at its magical best. No clouds hampered the clarity of Mount Warning or the ranges, so it was time to take another photo.

While we were eating lunch, my husband noticed a change in the weather, so checked the Bureau of Meterology website. He discovered that there were three storms heading our way, although he thought that perhaps we would only feel the tail-end effects of the combined storms.

Thunder rolled in the distance, light rain began to fall, and within half an hour the ‘storm’ was over. All that remained was the intensity of summer humidity, leaving the air so heavy you felt you could reach out and touch it. The heat this afternoon was the kind that makes me dread summer, every year. I loathe breathing in hot air and feeling as if there are a thousand spiders crawling across my skin!

The striking changes in the valley after the storm had passed soon took my mind off the heat. I took the photo above at 6:00pm. The mono tone is the actual colour of the valley at that time. The next photo shows the changes in the valley and the sky just half an hour later …

The swirl of misty clouds in the valley were replaced by a brilliant sunlit sky.

Beyond the yellow and orange, a patch of blue and cloudy sky continued down to the horizon.

This is how I cope with summer! Summer is the only season when the weather can change the appearance of the mountain and valley so drastically.

What an absolute blessing of contrasts nature provides. ❤

Australia · floods · history · Mount Warning · rain · realities · remembering · rivers · seasons · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

If you ask any old local, they will tell you this weather is to be expected.

The worst of the flood water has hit the low-lying villages of Tumbulgum and Condong today, with all residents being told to evacuate. I received a text message from the State Emergency Service (SES) advising of the evacuation, and posted the information to a local Murwillumbah community page that I am a member of. While on the page, I scrolled through a few announcements and photos added by other members. The flood waters are making a bit of a mess of the area, which is what happens when we have heavy and consistent rain. It’s sad to see the damage, and although I have lived in low-lying Murwillumbah myself and have been directly affected by flood waters, my concern for the residents of nearby, flood affected towns never wavers.

If anything, my concern now is greater. The population of the area has grown significantly over the years, therefore more people are affected when the river breaks its banks, which is what it did today at Tumbulgum. Over the years, however, there has been a shift in peoples’ attitudes towards flooding, and the suggested ways in which we should cope. Once, a new family to the area would discuss the situation over the fence with their neighbours, and learn what to expect and how to prepare for the rising waters. Now, the multitudes turn to social media. While the internet is a faster means of alerting the community, it is also a source of unnecessary alarm within the community. Social media is a platform where old locals and new residents alike can voice their opinion, be their opinion educated or otherwise. And I have noticed that it is mostly the relatively new people to town who feel they are justified in spruiking their ill-informed opinions.

After I posted the information regarding the evacuation notice from the SES, which included information on the designated evacuation sight in Murwillumbah, almost immediately I had a reply from Ms. Over-reactor – the main road into town is closed, how are people supposed to get there? Boat, I replied. I also added that the SES would take care of everything. A further reply was added by Ms. Over-reactor – thank goodness, she exclaimed.

I’m no authority on the matter, but my brief interaction with another community member was an example of one of several over-reactions I have read today. Are people spending so much time on social media, I wonder, that they have failed to discuss the possibility of the Tweed River flooding at some stage with the locals, prior to a flood? Did they not wonder what the white flood-level posts with black measurements painted on them, positioned strategically along the river banks where people would notice, were there for?

Already, the “blame climate change” brigade are making sure their voices are heard. This is proof of climate change, they wail. We must be kinder to the planet if we want this flood devastation to end, they proclaim. Historically, the weather has been changing ever-so-slightly for as long as time. Occasionally the earth has been subjected to a big shift – think the Ice Ages. Industry caused a few problems with the burning of the ozone layer, but measures were taken to reverse the damage. Yes, climate change does exist, just as it always has, so why is it talked about more now than ever before?

I believe the answer to that question involves a notable shift in people, rather than any notable shift in the temperatures. People have been handed the opportunity to be heard on a silver platter in recent years. The internet, and yes, social media, allows everyone to voice their opinions. Instantaneously, a previously unknown person on the other side of the world can have a knee-jerk reaction to a comment without first taking the time to consider the opinion. They respond. Before you know it, a massive row is bouncing back and forth across the planet between two strangers. Others join in, and others, and more and more people voice their opinions, becoming irate over … what exactly? Does the one-hundredth person who joined the argument – because that is what it has developed into – even know how it started? Do they care how it started? Or are they too busy “taking a stance” on the latest topic, complete with buzz-words and hyperbole?

Meanwhile, the old farmer from far northern New South Wales ponders the questions of climate change. He gazes into the flood waters and assures his neighbour, speaking in his gravelly old voice, “Nah, this isn’t climate change, saw the river rise higher than this back in ’74, I did. That’s why they built the levy bank along the town side of the river. You wouldn’t credit the rubbish we saw floatin’ through town that year. That’s when the water lapped the ceiling of all the shops in town. Same thing happened in ’54 too, the old folk used to say. Yeah mate, seen it all before …”

If you ask any old local, they will tell you this weather is to be expected. We live in a flood zone. It’s a subtropical climate, which means our rainy season arrives during summer – it’s summer now. There’s a major river in the area, the Tweed River, which floods, even when the rain isn’t pelting down. Today is one of those days – there’s hardly any rain about, but the run-off from the western catchment areas has now reached the low-lying areas. The river has swelled up from the excess water runoff and broken its bank, and people of the towns and villages are being evacuated.

And it’s not climate change, we’ve seen it all before, Ask any old local. They’ll set you straight on the matter.

 

 

Australia · birds · Changes · clouds · daughter · grandson · in my garden · Mount Warning · music · native Australian birds · seasons · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

The Summer

If I could bottle up the sea breeze I would take it over to your house
And pour it loose through your garden
So the hinges on your windows would rust and colour
Like the boats pulled up on the sand for the summer
And your sweet clean clothes would go stiff on the line
And there’d be sand in your pockets and nothing on your mind ~ Josh Pyke.

Summer wasn’t shy today about letting us know it had arrived. At 31°C and 88 percent humidity, it felt like the middle of summer and not the first day. Tomorrow’s prediction is for 35°C (95°F).

Regardless of the weather, I had a very special visitor today, my daughter Emma and her three-and-a-half month old son, Eli. Today, Emma turned 28. I apologise profusely every year for having her at such a hot time of year, which also happens to be the month of Christmas so her birthday can easily be overshadowed by another significant event. This birthday though, as Emma is now a mother herself and realises the futility of my tongue-in-cheek comment, we agreed that babies usually arrive on the day of their choice.

After Emma and Eli headed home, I spent some time Christmas gift shopping online. Even though Australia is travelling incredibly well Covid-wise, I’m still a bit of a scaredy-cat about spending time in crowds. Perhaps more to the point, it saves me time to shop online when I’m still sorting, cleaning, tidying and decluttering my house.

Maggie in a Tizz.

During the afternoon I heard a commotion out in the front garden. Noisy Miner birds – who are named “noisy” for a reason! – were kicking up a ruckus in the tree at the top of our garden, their squawks intermittently interrupted by the sound of a distressed Magpie.

I tried to ignore the noise, but it got the better of me. Even the two dogs sprawled out beside me got up and peered out the door, as if investigating the situation. The dogs know, just as I do, that magpies and miners are friends. If a miner carries on a treat as they were doing today, there’s a threat. I imagined one of the neighbours cats may be lurking around the tree.

Ignoring the noise wasn’t working for me, so I ignored the heat instead, and trudged to the top of the hill to investigate. Whatever the threat was, it seemed to be in the tree, which meant it could be a snake wrapped around a high branch sheltering from the heat of the day.

This is what I found –

A Pee Wee!

We occasionally see Magpie Larks in the garden, and I have noticed recently we have one dropping into the back garden each morning after the other birds have finished eating the food I give them. Magpie Larks are another native Australian bird, affectionately known as Pee Wees. They have a very pretty song and seem completely harmless, so goodness knows why the magpies objected so much to the visit. Maybe the magpie family feel that they “own” my yard, and the tree being in our yard belongs to them.

Satisfied that one tiny pee wee posed no threat to my lovely magpie family, I paused to take a photo of Mount Warning, which could be seen today, although not as clearly visible as it could be (first photo).

Later tonight at around sunset, I took another photo of the mountain. Dark patches of cloud had rolled in, and we didn’t see the beautiful orange sunset sky we have had lately.

The opening words of today’s post are song lyrics from Josh Pyke, an Australian singer, whose creativity with words conjures images of immense beauty when describing the most mundane moments of everyday life. This song is called The Summer, so very appropriate for today. I love this song as the words romanticise the one season of the year that I struggle to cope with. For anyone interested, here’s the rest of the lyrics to The Summer ~

But every year it gets a little bit harder
To get back to the feeling of when we were fifteen
And we could jump in the river upstream
And let the current carry us to the beginning where
The river met the sea again
And all our days were a sun-drenched haze
While the salt spray crusted on the window panes

We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer

And I’ll remember that summer as the right one
The storms made the pavement steam like a kettle
And our first goodbye always seemed like hours
In the car park in between my house and yours
And if the summer holds a song we might sing forever
The winter holds a bite we’d never felt before

But time is like the ocean
You can only hold a little in your hands
So we swim before we’re broken
Before our bones become
Black coral on the sand

We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
So if I could bottle up the sea breeze I would take it over to your house
And pour it loose through your garden ~ Josh Pyke.